Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rough day in the saddle - Good day at the Tap House

Well, I was feeling pretty good about my racing so far after two solid finishes. I knew that Winfield would be a test because of the two-step climb on the backstretch of the course, but I hoped that I could make it through 30 minutes and 3 laps. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be racing a bike - 80 degrees, light breeze, plenty of sun. My warm-up went ok and so I wasn't too nervous.

Kim was joined by my Aunt Rita. Aunt Rita is without doubt the reason I got into cycling. Thanks to her, I rode my first "real" bike, her Miyata 1000 that she rode from West Chicago to the race. Her stories of centuries and RAGBRAI fueled my imagination and soon I had my Schwinn Traveler. It was great to have fans, especially one that was so instrumental to my early love of this sport.

Over 60 of us lined up to race this pleasant Sunday morning. They staged us and to get the timing back on track, we weren't given a warm-up lap. Just as well. I lined up in the second row. After instructions, off we went.

The first couple of turns were fine and soon we faced the demon that would haunt this day, a two-step climb into a left-hand turn. The first lap wasn't so bad. I was pleased with my legs and thought it might be an ok outing. We flew through the final turn and proceeded to go just flat-out down Winfield Road. They announced a $20 prime on the very next lap. Ouch. Again the hill wasn't awful. My heart rate was staying high, but things would settle, right? The third lap was harder. We were not backing off the throttle at all. We were going single file down Winfield.

I stayed in contact and just waited to see the lap counter. 17 minutes into the 30 minutes I was nearly finished. It was all I could do not to get gapped and the hill was now torturing me. I just didn't have the leg strength to power, and by bailing to my 53x23 my heart stayed high. Crud. At 20 minutes I finally came unglued. Kim asked how much longer I was going to go now that my end was near. I yelled back one more lap. The final time up the hill was rough. Now in my 39 I knew that I have work ahead. A flat crit is one thing, but a hill will need some training. And so I withdrew after 24 minutes. It was a tough reminder about how hard racing can be and a positive reminder that I really can't expect to race on the weekends without riding during the week and hope for any better. Ok, lesson learned.

So, with my bike and wheels loaded we set off for home, but decided to detour and hit our Wheel Fast sponsor, Two Brothers Brewing. They opened their new restaurant Two Brothers Tap House recently and it was good to grab a great meal after the race and support Wheel Fast Racing's beer sponsor. We took home a growler of The Bitter End to drink later. I had the mac & cheese with ham and a pint of Bitter End while Kim had the Veggie Delight with sweet potato fries along with a pint of their cask-conditioned ale. The food has always been great, the service friendly, and beer without a doubt is fabulous! So,

No comments: